NEW DELHI (TIP): Spitting or urinating in open public places will now invite a fine with the Centre working on a new law to maintain cleanliness across the country.

The move will legally empower Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet initiative of Swatch Bharat Abhiyan.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked the Law Ministry to prepare a central legislation to prevent people from making public places dirty. The law, which is being drafted, is part of the government’s initiative to maintain hygiene in the country.

The law will include a fine for urinating, spitting, throwing garbage in public places, making graffiti on public walls without permission, polluting water bodies, including rivers or lakes by dumping wastes.

The quantum punishment including amount of fine will be decided at the time of finalising the law. To avoid overlapping, the new law will be interlinked with existing rules in related sectors to make judicial approach to check bad practices comprehensive and effective, a senior official in the Urban Development Ministry told Deccan Herald.

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At present in urban local bodies, cleanliness is part of the Municipal Act and even in some states there are provisions for imposing fine for dumping garbage in public places. However, these existing laws are not applicable to non-municipal areas or gram panchayat levels. The new law will be applicable for both, within limits of municipal areas as well as panchayat levels. The urban local bodies and panchayats will be empowered to impose fine against those guilty, said the official. As per the proposal, apart from imposing fine for each offences committed either by individuals or institutions or any establishments, the local government bodies have to take up frequent cleanliness drive in their respective jurisdictions and create awareness.

To monitor the implementation of the law, a national level committee will be headed by Union Urban Development Minister and state level committees headed by state urban development ministers. Secretaries of health, urban development, rural and sanitation departments will be its members.

At the district level, Zilla Panchayat President will be its chairman for the committee while at taluk level, taluk panchayat president will be its chairman. At gram panchayat level, the panchayat president will be head of the panel.

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